President Barack Obama’s second term is off to a chaotic start. In the first few weeks since his inauguration, most of the nation’s focus has been on the issues of immigration, gun control and, of course, the wonderful senatorial sideshow of cabinet confirmations. While all (or at least two) of these issues are very important, let’s not forget what most of the last presidential campaign — and even the one before it — was about: the economy, stupid.
We may have managed to avert a double-dip recession (despite Congress’s best efforts) but we’re not out of the woods yet. With upcoming fights over sequester, the U.S. economy is still in danger of being plunged back into stagnation, or worse, recession.
Simply put, our lukewarm recovery is not enough. We’re a whole hell of a lot better off than we were four years ago, but that isn’t saying very much. An unemployment rate of 7.9 percent is still unacceptable.
Obama needs to use the bully pulpit to bring Congress together over the one issue that truly should be bipartisan — the economy. As we’ve seen, both parties can find as many issues as they please to disagree with each other over, but there are plenty of common sense reforms that could significantly improve the economic situation.
Obama will certainly discuss a wide range of issues in his address — as he should. However, it’s important we don’t lose focus on what can do the most good for the most people. And as long as unemployment remains as high as it is, there isn’t anything except putting people back to work that can do just that.
Joe Timmerman (email@example.com) is a sophomore majoring in economics and math.